Srinagar: The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is set to face another jolt as party co-founder Muzaffar Hussain Baig has made it clear he will leave the party if a third front emerges in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Member of Parliament who was addressing a presser in Srinagar said that if a third front emerges, which is also what the Peoples Conference led by Sajjad Lone is aiming at, he will join it.
“Sajjad Lone is like my son. I had contested the elections that led to registration of Peoples Conference as a political party. If Sajjad is interested in (formation of third front), it should be encouraged. People want something different from the beaten track,” Baig said.
He said that joining the Peoples Conference will be his homecoming.
Asked if he would join an alternative front to the National Conference and PDP, Beigh said, “I will seriously consider joining the third front if it emerges.”
He said he had not been contacted by the BJP or Lone so far.
Asked if he would quit PDP, Baig said he would await a response from the party leadership before taking the step.
“I have not made up my mind. I will have to think about it. It is very difficult to resign from a party which I have formed,” he said.
“Sajad has not contacted me directly. The BJP has not contacted me. However, there are people within the party (PDP) who want an elected government,” he added.
Baig described the election boycott of National Conference and PDP over the legal challenge to Article 35A as “flawed”. He said, “The issue is not to be decided by politicians or government of India. It is to be decided by the highest court which is not afraid of taking bold decisions. The logic is flawed and if the case (Article 35A) takes years, will NC and PDP boycott the assembly and parliament elections till then?”
He pointed out that despite the election boycott by NC and PDP, “people voted in certain areas.”
“I know the reason why NC called for the boycott. It was a defensive step that they took because of the comments of their senior leader in Delhi. To overcome the resentment (caused by the comments), they called for a boycott,” Baid said and added, “Why the PDP followed the decision, I don’t understand. They unwittingly fell into the trap.”
Beigh, who is the Lok Sabha member from Baramulla, said he was not consulted when the PDP took the decision to boycott the local polls.
“I was in Delhi, just a phone call away. I remained quiet because I did not want the PDP to fall asunder,” he said.
Reacting to speculations that PDP and arch rival National Conference might join hands to form a government in the state, Beigh said the PDP was formed to end family rule (of the Abdullahs) and bring in democracy.
“Now this talk of NC-PDP alliance… How will people of Jammu react? How will people of Ladakh react? It will be an alliance of one religion,” he said.
“Jammu would not like it, Ladakh will not remain part of the state. This will lead to trifurcation of the state,” he warned.
Responding to the possibility of either NC or PDP getting absolute majority in future assembly elections, he said, “It will be foolish of me to think that NC or PDP will ever get a majority. There was a wave in 2014 (assembly elections) and we (PDP) still could not get 30 seats.”
On the PDP-BJP alliance, he said it did not live up to the expectation of the late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. “The alliance, if it had been implemented properly, was a chance to tell the Muslims of India that they were safe. We failed to form a real alliance with the BJP; we remained aloof. The ministers were not intermingling,” he said.
Beigh blamed the PDP for failing to deliver on the development front. “There was development deficiency during those two-and-a-half years. Funds were not utilised or were not released. No proposals were sent to the Centre (for development works) because the Centre does not release any funds without proposals,” he said.
Beigh said small mistakes in the past led to massive damage to Jammu and Kashmir as was witnessed post-1987 elections.
“What would have happened in 1987 (If Muslim United Front would have formed the government)? Yasin Malik (JKLF supremo) said in an interview after those elections that he would go to Pakistan and bring arms. That is what happened. At least we would not have seen terror,” he said.
Beigh said that mistakes of politicians in the past were responsible for militancy in the state and the killings taking place now.